Ebay Store Owner Guilty of Fencing Stolen Property
Hill Made Millions Reselling Stolen Merchandise Over The Internet That He
Acquired From Identity Thieves
ATLANTA – Robert A. Hill, 51, now of Swainsboro, Georgia, pleaded guilty today to selling several million dollars’ worth of stolen property through his eBay store and shipping the goods across state lines to his customers. Hill worked with a ring of identity thieves who fraudulently purchased the goods on credit at large retail stores using the personal information of numerous victims in Georgia.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “This case demonstrates the damage that can be done by criminals who combine identity theft with the power of the Internet to reach beyond state lines. The defendant worked with identity thieves who used fake driver’s licenses to get store credit and buy expensive items. He then resold the items from his eBay store to buyers from across the United States, all the while pretending to run an honest business. His crimes leave a wake of individual victims whose good names and credit were abused, in addition to numerous retail victims who suffered millions in lost sales from the scheme.”
“This case validates the wide-reaching impact of identity theft on innocent victims and our communities. The Secret Service, in conjunction with our law enforcement partners, will continue to work closely to investigate these types of financial crimes cases,” said Reginald G. Moore, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Atlanta Field Office.
Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison said, “The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office is committed to aggressively investigating and seeking justice for all citizens of Cherokee County that become victims of identity fraud. We are pleased to have partnered with the United States Secret Service and the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Georgia, in this investigation.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: For over ten years through December 2011, Hill operated a scheme out of Roswell, Georgia that involved shipping stolen merchandise across state lines. Hill had an eBay store called atlantis_discount_ warehouse_llc, where he sold the merchandise online to buyers from across the United States. To get merchandise for sale, Hill worked with a group of identity thieves who bought expensive items, such as iPads, iPods, iPhones, computers, Wii game systems, cameras, golf clubs, and tools, from large retail stores, using fraudulent credit cards opened in the names of numerous victims. These co-conspirators used fake drivers’ licenses to apply for new credit cards and take over existing accounts at the stores. They targeted accounts at Best Buy, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, Target, and Dick’s Sporting Good.
Hill then bought the items from his co-conspirators for about 60% of their retail value, knowing that the merchandise had been stolen and obtained by fraud. He sometimes gave the thieves lists of items that he needed for his eBay store. Hill stored the merchandise at a storage facility in Alpharetta, Georgia. He sold it at just under retail value to buyers from around the United States. As part of the scheme, he shipped items to buyers in numerous states, including California, New York, Florida, New Hampshire, Indiana, Maryland, Colorado, North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Washington, Virginia, Utah, and Maine.
During the course of the scheme, Hill sold over $9 million in merchandise through his eBay store. Search warrants executed at his residence and storage facility uncovered over $44,000 in cash and a large quantity of high-value electronic equipment in boxes ready for sale.
Hill pleaded guilty to a Criminal Information charging him with interstate transportation of stolen property. That charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The Information also contains a forfeiture provision that includes over $44,000 in cash, two bank accounts with over $47,000, a 1999 Lexus RS 300, and thousands of dollars’ worth of electronics equipment and jewelry. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
Hill’s sentencing is scheduled for March 14, 2013 at 9:30 a.m., before United States District Judge Richard W. Story.
This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the United States Secret Service and Investigators with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen H. McClain and Jeffrey Viscomi are prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Information Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.